Two Alabama mothers seek assistance for ailing children

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Leni Law
Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison) holds Eleanor “Leni” Young. Ball has introduced Leni's Law. [Photo courtesy of Grace Photography]

Kari Forsyth and Jody Mitchell, two mothers from Athens and Decatur respectively, travelled to Montgomery Tuesday to meet with Alabama lawmakers to discuss “Leni’s Law,” a bill from Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison) that would decriminalize the possession of CBD oil and give caretakers the ability to discuss the use thereof with physicians.

CBD oil came into the Alabama lexicon with the passage of “Carly’s Law” last year, a piece of legislation which provided the University of Alabama at Birmingham the ability to conduct clinical trials of the cannabis-based medicine.
But “Carly’s Law” left out many desperate children in Alabama, including Forsyth’s daughter Chesney, who was deemed too sick to participate. Mitchell’s son, Robert, was forced to leave the trials because the oil was interacting poorly with his other medications.
According to Forsyth and Mitchell, no Senators were available to meet with them and every Representative they met with mentioned UAB – the university at the center of the “Carly’s Law” trials but mentioned nowhere in Ball’s legislation.
“Somewhere, everybody knows that UAB wants in it,” Forsyth said of the new bill. “All I’ve gotten today is that they’re trying to get UAB in it.”
The prospect of involving UAB in Ball’s legislation concerns both mothers because the namesake of “Leni’s Law” was denied entrance into the CBD studies and forced to move to Oregon.
“Anything that this bill does wrong, we’re out of here,” Forsyth said, who has already acquired a medical marijuana card in Oregon.
“We can’t wait for them anymore,” Mitchell said. “We need help now, like yesterday.”
According to the duo, Iowa has obtained a copy of “Leni’s Law,” edited it and plans to bring it before the legislature next week. For his part, Ball says his legislation, which is currently pending in the House Judiciary Committee, should come up for a hearing next week.
Currently, the two desperate mothers have more questions than answers, more concerns than assurances.
The study at UAB, contrary to popular belief, was not established to test CBD’s efficacy but to test the effect of high doses on patients, Leni is currently receiving 45mg a day in Oregon, while Jody’s son was receiving 800mg a day before being pulled from the trials.
The mothers were also curious as to how the $1 million pulled from the Education Trust Fund last year to fund the study was used, as GW Pharmaceuticals, who produced the Epidiolex used in the studies, generally funds its own clinical trials.
Forsyth noted that she is in close contact with 25 to 30 parents of suffering children who have already given their children CBD oil illegally. She hasn’t, afraid that doing so would turn her into a criminal.
“Leni’s Law,” in its original incarnation, would eliminate such fears. Only time will tell if that will be the case or if Alabama will lose more families opting to migrate to heal their children.

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